As president of BSR, I would like to respond to Robert Riversong’s comments.
1) To invoke yet two more philosophers – William James and John Stuart Mill – BSR’s principles are largely pragmatically-based and utilitarian in nature. Our group is made up of builders, architects, and other building-related professionals, and we seek to make positive changes in the world mostly within the context of our professional work. BSR is not, in fact, a trade association, and actually has spent no time at all in any organized way advancing “the marketability and profitability of its business members.”
2) It is regrettable in some ways that we don’t offer the Solar Hot Water workshops for free. They do cost money to put on, however, and we also hope to be able to fund some mission-related activities with any proceeds we receive from them. It costs money to do pretty much anything in our society – especially anything that attempts to get people’s attention in challenging the grossly destructive values of the mainstream status quo. A sliding fee is not out of the question, however. Also, of course, there are other ways to get the essential information of these workshops –books or magazines, professional apprenticeship, on-line seminars, etc.
3) To examine ways of changing the values of our society as a whole: to move away from market principles, profit motive, fee-for-service, and other related elements of capitalism – not to mention the very difficult problems of growth and consumption -- is a very important discussion. BSR has at various times in the past spent time on these issues, and we have held topic meetings on problems related to affordability, the cultural impacts of our society’s economic structure, and, more specifically, on alternative housing arrangements and business structures. The bulk of our work however is devoted to what we believe are more manageable problems of energy use, environmental impact, and ecological sustainability. This is because that is where most of us feel we can contribute best.